It’s normal that many of us Brits look for far-flung destinations when it comes to planning our holidays, but it’s worth keeping in mind that there are some pretty good reasons to holiday within our borders, too. There are some fantastic cities and natural spots, and we’re pretty lucky when it comes to big events too. After all, what other countries can boast of events such as brilliant as Glastonbury, the Edinburgh Fringe, or the Grand National?
In this blog, we’re going to take a focus on the Grand National, running through all the key information you need to ensure you make the most of a long-weekend of all-out fun.
Planning Your Trip
It all begins with a little bit of effort. Even though you’ll be staying within the UK borders, you’ll still need to figure out the logistics of getting to Liverpool, where the Grand National is held, and back home again. Will you drive? Will you catch the train? Will you fly?
All of these options have their plus points and negative points. Driving is the most convenient, but you’ll need to figure out parking. Flying is fastest, but probably not the cheapest, and it can sometimes feel a bit overkill to get a plane and land somewhere within the same country. If you live near a well-connected train station, we say take the train, especially as you’ll arrive right at Liverpool Lime Street, which is right in the centre of the city and nearby to everything.
Where to Stay
As with all trips, where you decide to stay will impact the fluidity and enjoyment of your Grand National experience. Aintree Racecourse, where the Grand National is held, is located a couple of miles away from the city centre, but you’ll find that your weekend is more enjoyable if you stay somewhere centrally located. There is no shortage of accommodation options in Liverpool, and they suit all budgets. If you’re looking to enjoy the weekend in style (and really, why not), then splash out on a top-of-the-range bedroom in a fancy hotel. Be aware, however, that you’ll need to book early, no matter what type of accommodation you’re looking at, since Grand National weekend is among the busiest in the city’s calendar and hotels can book up quickly.
What to Wear
Now let’s talk about the most important aspect of the trip: what you’ll wear on the big day! The Grand National has become one of the hottest social events of the year, and that means it’s the perfect opportunity to go big and make a splash with your outfit. For the ladies, it’s all about formal dresses and large hats (the bigger, the better). For the gents, it’s all about dressing sharp in a suit.
Starting the Day Right
Here’s a pro tip: on the morning of the Grand National, book yourself in for a big breakfast somewhere. You’ll be able to get food once you’re inside the racecourse, but it’s always good to arrive with a full stomach, so you can get down to the serious business of having a good time without having to worry about hunger. Plus, a late breakfast presents a golden opportunity to have a Bloody Mary and get things flowing.
Following the Big Race
Many people attend the Grand National for the social aspect, and it’s not hard to see why — there’s just oh so much to love about getting dressed to the nines and sharing a bottle (or two) of prosecco with friends, all the while (hopefully) soaking up the spring sunshine. But let’s not forget that there’s also the small matter of the world’s greatest steeplechase, too. Even if you’re not a horse racing aficionado when you arrive, it’s likely that the excitement and passion of the crowd will ensure that you are by the time that you leave. To get the most from your trip to Aintree Racecourse, read up on some essential horse racing information beforehand, and do some research on which horses you’ll follow during the big race. You’ll find that the day is even more enjoyable if you’re invested in the outcome!
After the Races Are Over
You’ll find that the racecourse empties out pretty quickly once the Grand National is finished in the later afternoon. But does that mean that the fun is over? Not a chance — things are just getting started. Make sure you’ve made a reservation at one of the many excellent restaurants in Liverpool (do this early: the best places will be booked up fast). From there, it’s all about enjoying everything that Liverpool’s notable nightlife has to offer. Since you’ll still be dressed to the nines, look for places that specialize in cocktails.
It’s at this point when the value of booking a hotel in the centre will really present itself: it is oh so enjoyable to simply stroll back to your hotel after a night of fun, without having to queue for a taxi.
Post-races Pro Tip: Following the end of the races, the train to the city will be packed, and you might have to wait a long time to finally get on board. To get around this, jump on a train going in the opposite direction and then alight at the first stop. At that point, you can simply jump on the next train that’s travelling towards the city; it’ll be more or less empty (but will become very busy once you reach Aintree).
Post-Racing City Fun
The event may be over, but if you’re travelled all the way to Liverpool, then why not make the most of it? Liverpool is a world-class city that offers countless attractions, including excellent art galleries, museums. If you’re a fan of The Beatles or Liverpool FC, then use your time to tour all the special spots associated with each.
Begin planning your trip now, and in a few short months, you’ll get to enjoy everything that this historic event — and the city in which it is held — has to offer.